Brewers add relievers Norris and Curtiss in trades
MILWAUKEE (AP) — The NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers made two more moves Friday to boost their roster for a playoff push, acquiring relievers John Curtiss from the Miami Marlins and Daniel Norris from the Detroit Tigers.
Milwaukee sent minor league catcher Payton Henry to Miami and minor league pitcher Reese Olson to Detroit. Both moves were completed Friday, two days after the Brewers added All-Star third baseman Eduardo Escobar in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Curtiss and Norris boost the depth of a bullpen headed by All-Star closer Josh Hader and 2020 NL Rookie of the Year Devin Williams.
“We added to our depth, to our choices and created some insurance for the big innings, the leverage innings there,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We feel like with the group we have to attack the last two months, we’ll have guys step up. There’s enough good arms there, enough talented arms there that no matter what happens, we’ll be in a good spot.”
Curtiss, 28, is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 35 games for Miami. The right-hander has made three starts and 35 relief appearances. He has struck out 40 and walked nine in 40 innings.
While Norris is set to be a free agent after this season, Curtiss’ contract runs through 2025.
“This player gives us a ton of flexibility with our roster,” president of baseball operations David Stearns said. “We believe he can be part of our bullpen for years to come. He’s having a really nice year, will slot in nicely into our bullpen, into our mix.”
The 28-year-old Norris is 1-3 with a 5.89 ERA in 38 relief appearances this season, but he’s pitched better lately. He hasn’t allowed a run or a hit over his last five outings.
Norris has struck out 40 batters in 36 2/3 innings. Left-handed hitters are batting .200 against him.
“He’s a guy who we know can get left-handed hitters out,” Stearns said. “His stuff has certainly ticked up of late, ticked up in shorter stints, and we think he’s going to be a valuable member of our bullpen down the stretch here, and we think he’s going to help us.”
The Brewers begin a weekend series at Atlanta with a seven-game lead in their division.
Escobar is making his Brewers debut Friday at third base, but the Brewers plan to capitalize on his versatility by playing him all over. They’ve discussed using him occasionally at first base, where he’s never played.
“We’re going to try him at first base against left-handed pitching and see how it goes,” Counsell said. “The more he does it, the better he’ll get at it.”
Escobar said he’s ready to give it a try.
“I will come early and work at first base,” Escobar said. “I’ll be ready when they need me. I’ll try to make the manager’s job easier.”
The Brewers also designated pitcher Patrick Weigel for assignment and optioned first baseman Keston Hiura to Triple-A Nashville.
Olson, 22, was 5-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 14 starts this season for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Brewers’ Class A affiliate in Appleton. The 2008 13th-round draft pick has struck out 79 batters over 69 innings.
Henry, 24, has batted .297 with two homers and 19 RBIs in 49 games this season while splitting time between Double-A Biloxi and Nashville. The Brewers drafted him in the sixth round in 2016.
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